Monday, January 31, 2011

Games That I've Never Seen In Reno

6:00 $340 - I walked into the Atlantis Poker Room on Saturday night. There was an open seat at the $6/$12 Limit table. Since I've never seen a $6/$12 game running in Reno, let alone play in one, I sat down in the one of the two open seats to give it a try. I recognize a good regular from the $4/$8 Peppermill game. I sat down at the open seat on his direct Left.

6:30 $245 - Still 9-handed. The action of the table has been a little tight. About 40% of the hands are raised preflop, and there have been way more walks then you should see at a Limit table. My cards have been rather dull, and I haven't won a pot yet.

The best starting hand was AK, which I raised from the Hyjack after it folded to me. The SB (50's lady) 3-Bet, and I just called. Flop was 9-high. She bet, and I called. Turn gave me a Flush Draw. She bet, and I called. River was a brick. She checked, and so did I since I assumed that we had the same hand. Instead, she turned over QQ. She said that she thought I had AA since I kept calling her bets. Of course, I never raised her, so why would I have AA? Like I said, a tight table.

The Poker Room was rather busy, with 6 of the 9 tables in use. That included a $1/$2 PLO game that just started. Once again, a game that I've never seen in Reno, and have never heard of any interest in a PLO game. I've never played PLO in a casino, so this is tempting especially since I brought enough money for $3/$5. The Buy-In is $50 - $500 or Biggest Stack. There is one player at that table who I just love playing $2/$3 NL with because he's a giant Calling Station.

6:50 $100 - It seemed like the table got even tighter, so I put my name on the PLO list, and got a seat within ten minutes. I finished my quickie Limit session -$140.

I decided to shortstack the PLO game for $100. The stack sizes currently range from $60 to over $600. The Calling Station is on my Right+2, and he's got a pile of $100 bills.

7:00 $95 - The play so far has been rather passive. It's very obvious that half of the table is trying to figure out what this game is all about. There is one of the Atlantis Dealers who's also a local Pro. There is a 30's guy whom I've never seen before. He is sitting between me and the Calling Station, and he seems to know what he's doing. Fortunately, I have position on him.

7:30 $97 - Decent action so far, but players are just betting with Made Hands and calling with Draws. Also, nobody is 3-Betting preflop, just like at a $1/$2 NL table. Normally, it's a limper or two, somebody raises to $10, and five players call.

I raised to $7 from the Hyjack with 7d 7c 6c 5s. Five players saw the Flop of Q 9 4. I just checked and folded to a bet. Later, I raise to $7 UTG+1 with Jh Jc 8c Td. Only the Button and both Blinds called. Flop 3c 2c 2h. Both Blinds check. I bet $25 with my Flush Draw + Overpair. Button folded. SB (Calling Station) think for a bit, and called. BB folded. Turn [3c 2c 2h] 5s. SB checked. I go All-In for $56. He snap-called with K2c. Ouch! I brick on the River, and I grab four Green chips out of my pocket for Buy-In #2.

Three hands later in the SB, I called a preflop min-raise. I flopped a J-high Flush Draw and a Double Gutshot. I checked. Mid player bets $25. The Hyjack (Calling Station) raised to $55. With the extra money in the pot, I decide to ship it All-In for $94. Mid folded, and the Hyjack called with Bottom Set of 6's. I bricked out, and reach into my pocket for Buy-In #3.

8:00 $68 - My starting hands have been rather crappy. I raised in Mid with As Ad 9c 7h. Five players saw a Flop of Qh Qc Jc. I checked and folded to a bet. Later, I limped in the Cutoff with Ah Kc Jh 4h. Seven players saw a Flop of Ac Kh Qs. UTG+1 bets Pot ($14). I just call, assuming that I'm behind. The BB also called. Turn [Ac Kh Qs] 6s. BB checked. UTG+1 bet Pot ($56). I didn't pick-up any extra draws, so I folded. The BB also folded, and UTG+1 showed KK.

Seven of the nine tables are now in use. The $6/$12 game broke into a $3/$6 game. There are three $2/$3 NL games, three $3/$6 games, and this PLO game.

8:30 $54 - This is getting pathetic. I'm approaching the 2-hour mark at this table, and I still haven't won a pot yet. My starting hands have been terrible. And when I see the occasional Flop in position or from the Blinds, I completed miss the Board. How can I be so card dead when starting with four cards?

9:00 $95 - A few players limped in. The SB (a Nitty No0b) bet Pot ($12). I'm the BB with Tx Td 7d 6x. I know the SB has either AA or KK. My hand isn't exactly a good hand to crack a Big Pair, but I've only got $54. I decide that this is a good time to gamble, and I 3-Bet by re-potting it, which puts in most of my tiny stack. It folded around to the SB who happily puts me All-In with his KK. I ended up hitting a Straight on the River to win my first pot of the night.

Later, I raised in Mid with As Kc Jd Td. Four players saw a Flop of 4h 2h 2d. Good to see that things have returned to normal.

9:30 $282 - I won a pot by playing the Board, which was a 7-high Straight. I had 76. The other player still in on the River had 52 for a smaller Straight.

Later, I raised on the Button with Ks Qh Jd Ts. Six players saw a Flop of Tc 9s 7s. UTG bet Pot ($42). UTG+2 called, as well as the Calling Station in Mid position. Once it gets to me, I have a rather easy decision. I have the K-high Flush Draw, and a Monster 4 Card Wrap. (For you non-PLO players, the K, Q, J, or 8 will give me a Straight. That's double an Open-Ended Straight Draw.) I ship my $144 stack All-In. UTG and UTG+2 fold rather quickly. The Calling Station goes into deep thought, counts out the extra $102, does some more deep thought, and finally folded. I show my Monster Draw, but he didn't say what he had. I really thought he was gonna call, but his stack has been shrinking all night.

10:00 $272 - Not much of interest happened to me. The Dealers have done a really good job of keeping track of the Pot, and keeping the action moving. It's impressive since they never deal this game.

Trainwreck Of The Night: Flop is J T 7, and the three players in the hand have TT, 98, and JJ. I'm not sure of the exact action preflop and on the Flop, but there was some betting and raising. Turn [J T 7] 7. TT checked. 98 bet $250. (He's a Kid who seems to know what he's doing, so I don't understand why he would bet Pot against two players with just a Straight.) The JJ just called (Again, not sure why), and TT called. River was a Brick. The TT bet All-In for around $350. (He said later that this was his only chance to win the pot.) The 98 insta-mucked. The JJ went into deep thought, and seriously considered folding. Eventually, he realized that he had the 2nd Nuts, and just couldn't fold. He called, and won a ridiculous pot somewhere near the $1500 neighborhood.

10:30 $160 - I'm the BB with Qc Js 6d 5d. Five players saw a Flop of Jh 4h 2s. It checked around to the Button, who bet Pot ($10). I call with my Top Pair and Gutshot. Two others also called. Turn: [Jh 4h 2s] 5c. Now that I have Top Two Pair, I lead out for $25. Only one player called, and naturally, it was the Calling Station. River [Jh 4h 2s 5c] 2d. I figure he has Top Pair or a Draw, so I value bet $25 again. He quickly called with KK for a better Two Pair. That was a small mistake by me. I forgot that these players aren't raising with Big Pairs preflop.

Later, I raised in the Cutoff with Ac Ah Kh Td. Five players saw a Flop of Qc Qh 3c. UTG+1 bet $20, and the Hyjack called. I decided to call, and see if I can hit my 2-outer. The Button min-raised to $40. Strangely, both the UTG+1 and Hyjack folded. I make the crying call, and say a little prayer. Turn [Qc Qh 3c] Ts. I check, and he bet $60. Well, I did pick-up a Broadway Draw, but it might not be any good. I fold.

11:00 $131 - I'm not sure how I lost the few chips that I did. I do know that I'm back to the Abyss of Card Dead. I have been getting some good Omaha-8 hands, like A 3 2 2 or Ah Qh 3d 2d. These hands don't play as well in PLO, especially if I'm out of position.

11:05 $0 - I limped in Mid with Qh Jc 9d 8s. Seven players saw a Flop of Jh 9s 3s. I bet Pot ($14) with my Top Two Pair and Gutshot. The very next player also bet Pot ($56). It folds back to me. I'm not sure if he's got a Big Hand or a Big Draw. After thinking for about a minute, I decide that it's getting late. I ship it All-In for $129. He called with his Big Draw, Kd Ks Th 8s. The Turn and River was [Jh 9s 3s] Ts 2s. Instead of reaching in my pocket for Buy-In #4, I make the Walk of Shame back to my car.

I admit that PLO is not my best game. I understand the Basics, but I just don't play it very often. Even though this table was rather soft, I just didn't have any cards to do battle with. I had AA twice in four hours, and I never saw KK. I never hit a Set, and I only flopped Two Pair once, which is the hand the sent me home.

The Atlantis seems like it's trying to spread other game besides $3/$6 and $2/$3 NL. Since this is one of the room that I visit most often, I'm sure that I will play PLO again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finally, Some $3/$5 Action

6:20 $300 - On Saturday night, I walked into a Peppermill ballroom, which has been converted to the Poker Room during a tournament series. I put my name on the $3/$5 NL interest list which has a few names on it. I take a seat at a $1/$2 table, which only has eight players. There's a Kid who looks like he's 16, and has over $700 in front of him. Another player is an Older Gentleman who just sat down with $500. The rest of the players are under $300.

6:45 $659 - I played only one hand at the $1/$2 table. I raised to $7 in Mid with KJc. I flopped the Royal Draw (Ac Qc x), hit the Flush, and stacked off a shortstack who just had an A.

Right after that hand, they called the list to start the $3/$5 game. I took my chips, and bought a full stack of Green chips ($500), and headed over to the table. After looking over the other players' stacks, I only put $300 of Green chips on to the table. The Minimum Buy-In for this game is $300, and there's no max. Most players bought in for $300-$400, which is also the amount most of them buy into the $1/$2 game. I had everyone covered with just $659.

We started with eight players, including the Old Guy from my $1/$2 table with his $550 stack. He was rather active at the $1/$2 table, including doing $7 Straddles.

7:30 $837 - The table has filled up, and is relatively calm. Two players went to the 7pm tournament, so why did they even bother to sit down at a new table for one orbit?

I won two pots. First, I called a raise in the BB with ATc, and I flopped Trip Tens. The second was a larger pot. I 3-Bet to $40 with KK, and just the original raiser called. I bet $50 on the Flop and Turn (J-high). He then commented that he couldn't beat the Backdoor Flush on the River, so I bet $100. He thought for a moment, and folded.

8:00 $847 - I played a few hands, but airballed everything. The only interesting hand was a limp in the SB with Ah Td. The Flop was 9-high with two Hearts. The Old Guy from earlier bet $10 from Mid position. Both myself and the BB called. The Turn was a Brick, and we all checked. The River was another 9. The BB and I checked. The Old Guy bet $20. I snap-called, knowing that he's just stabbing at the pot. The BB folded. The Old Guy shakes his head, and said I'm good. I showed my AT, and asked if it's good. It was.

8:30 $774 - It folded around to the Button, who raised to $15. I have QQ in the SB, but I just called and the BB folded. Flop Ad Th 3d. Since I hate the A, I checked and he did also. Turn [Ad Th 3d] 8h. Again, check check. River [Ad Th 3d 8h] 3s. I'm pretty sure that I have the best hand, so I bet $25. The Button raised to $55. WTF? I thought for a moment, and made the curiosity call. He showed 63c for Trip 3's. It's hard to be upset about this hand because I deserved it for playing QQ so passively.

I also raised with AKs and TT, but just won the Blinds.

9:00 $956 - I won a nice pot by 3-Betting with QQ. Later, I raised to $15 from the Hyjack with 76o. Five players saw the Flop of Jd Jc 2h. It checked around to the Button, who bet $55. It folded back around to me, and I called in order to Float. I think that he wouldn't bet $55 if he had a J. He's either got a Pocket Pair or was just stabbing at the pot. Turn [Jd Jc 2h] 7d. I bet $75. He goes into deep thought, and started counting out some chips. He said that he didn't think I had a J, but I might have his hand beaten. He folded 88 face up. There was an 8 exposed while this hand was dealt. I just put a $1 on top of my cards, and pushed them towards the Dealer without showing them.

9:30 $721 - UTG+1 raised to $20. UTG+2 called. I'm in the Hyjack with AQ, and I decided to 3-Bet to $60. They both called. The Flop was Jd Th 6d. They both checked. I grabbed a stack of Red chips, and bet $100. Only UTG+1 called, and he had $160 behind. Turn: [Jd Th 6d] 6s. He checked. Since he has less then half of the pot left in his stack, I really have no Fold Equity. So I also checked, hoping to hit my Broadway Draw. River: [Jd Th 6d 6s] Jc. He bet $100. I hollywooded for a bit, and then folded.

I played a few other hands, but airballed everything.

10:00 $2190 - In a limped pot, I have Q8 in the SB. Four players see a Flop of Qh 8h 7s. I bet $10 with my Two Pair, hoping for a little action. The Cutoff raises to $35, and it folds back to me. I'm out of position and there are too many possible draws with this Flop, so slowplaying is a bad idea. I grab a stack of Red and raise to $100. He quickly calls. Turn [Qh 8h 7s] 5s. I grab some Green chips, and bet $175. He quickly tosses out 2 $100 bills. River [Qh 8h 7s 5s] Td. I don't like that card, but the pot's too big now. I go to grab some more Green chips, but he insta-mucks.

Later, I won my biggest pot ever, which was already a Hand Of The Day.

10:30 $2193 - Not much happened. I played a few pot without hitting anything. I did raise from UTG+2 with Qs Qd. Five players saw the Flop of Qh Js 6s. I bet $30, but everyone folded. I hate wasting Sets.

11:00 $2272 - It's time to leave since I have to work in the morning. I won a few pots in my last orbit. The most interesting was me limping from the Hyjack with 74h. Six players see the Flop of 5h 3d 2h. It checks around to me, and I bet $15 with my Combo Draw. Only the Cutoff called. Turn [5h 3d 2h] 7s. I bet $25, and he quickly called. River [5h 3d 2h 7s] Ac. I decided to check, hoping he would bet. But he didn't, and I won it with the Straight. In hindsight, I think I should have overbet (like $75) to look like a missed draw. If he had a pair, like the A-high Flush draw, he might have called.

This concluded my best session ever. Even without the monster pot, I still would have had a good session of around +$500.

I would like to play more $3/$5, but it rarely runs in this town outside of a tournament series. It's not because of the money, since $15/$30 or $20/$40 runs daily. The reason is due to the structure of the NL games in Reno. Every poker room's $1/$2 game, or $2/$3 at Atlantis, has a limit on their game like "$300 Or The Largest Stack". This basically means that these smaller NL games are uncapped since players can buy-in for $500 or more.

I played at Atlantis on last Friday night. It was the night I hit the Quads twice. They are trying to start a larger NL game on Fridays, but they can't get it started. Someone bought into the $2/$3 game for $700. If players are buying in to the small NL game for $700, then why would they ever want to play in a $3/$5 game when half of the players are buying in for just $300?

If a poker room wants to have a regular larger NL game, then they need to have a hard cap for their smaller games. If I were to run a poker room (which may be a future blog post), I would have three different NL games. $1/$1 ($20-$100), $1/$3 ($100-$400), and $2/$5 ($400-$800).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hand Of The Day #64

$3/$5 NLHE - Peppermill - 01.22.11

UTG+1 raised to $15. A couple of player called, including me with 87h in the Cutoff. Five or six players saw a Flop of 9h 6s 5h. The BB bet $35. A Mid player raised to $185. He's a 60's gentleman who's a regular grinder in many of Reno's poker rooms.

It folds to me, and I think for a moment. To me, the raise of $150 means that he's got a big hand (Two Pair or better), and want to chase everyone away from a draw-heavy board. He's got a couple of stacks of Red chips, and a pile of $100 bills behind. Since I've got the Nut Straight and a Gutshot Straight Flush Draw, I'm willing to put my car keys on the table for this hand. I think he's also willing to go deep with his hand, so there's no reason to get cute in this spot. I put out a healthy raise up to $450.

It folds back to the BB, who get's this "WTF?" look on his face. He's ask, "Why so much?" Naturally, I don't answer. He thinks for a bit, and folds. The Mid player asks how much I have behind, and tell him around $550. It doesn't take him long to say, "All-In". I call, and I can't turn my hand over fast enough. He gets that stunned look on his face, and says, "That a damn good hand," as the Dealer deals the rest of the hand. The Turn was the 2h, and the River was a brick. He shakes his head, and mucks his hand without showing. The Dealer counts down my chipstack, and I have $1030 total. The Mid players puts 10 $100 bills and six Red chip into the pot, and the Dealer ships me the pot that's over $2100.

The Mid player never said another word about the hand or what he had, and I never asked him because it would be rude. Either he had the same Straight and I hit my redraw, or he flopped a Set but missed his Boat draw.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sticking My Toe In The Deep End

During a tournament series, the Peppermill moves their Poker Room to a ballroom so they can run Tournaments, Sit-N-Gos, and Cash Games in the same room.

I walked into the ballroom on Wednesday night around 6:40. Since my bankroll is doing rather well these days, I've been wanting to play in some bigger games. There was an open seat at the $15/$30 Limit table, so I bought in for $600 and walked over to the table. There was eight stacks of Red Chips and $100 bills, but only three players and no cards being dealt. Some of the missing players were off having dinner, and others were wandering around the ballroom waiting for the other players to come back.

I took an open seat, and waited for about ten minutes before there were enough players to start dealing. We started with just five, and then one of them wandered off. So we played four handed for about 15 minutes before players started slowly returning to the game. Around 30 minutes later, we finally had a full table.

The "Play" at the table was a little more aggressive than a $3/$6 or a $4/$8 game. There was a preflop raise in about half of the hands, as well as a decent amount of 3-Betting. The number of players that saw a Flop was between 2 - 5, rather than the 4 - 8 you would see in a 7-Card Bingo game.

As for the players, some were on the tight side, like me. Others were rather loose, but not quite in the "7-Card Bingo" category. Overall, they were decent players. There was nobody who was just dumping money on the table, and there was nobody who I thought, "Wow, this guy can play."

After two hours, the players wanted to bump up the table to a $20/$40 game. I wasn't thrilled with this, but I didn't object. I was only gonna play one more hour, and I was up $200 at this point, so I figured what was the worst that could happen.

I ended up finishing the session +$319. I was pleased with my play overall. There were definitely some spots were I could have saved a Bet or two. And there was one hand that I should have slowplayed, even though I normally don't slowplay at the 7-Card Bingo tables. I 3-Bet with AA, and the Flop was Ad Qd 3s. I bet and both of the players called. The Turn was [Ad Qd 3s] 3h. I bet, and one player folded while the other one made a reluctant call. He then quickly folded on the River. Checking the Turn would have looked like I just had KK, and maybe they would have bet the River, or at least they both might have called the River bet.

I will definitely be back to the "Big Game", but I would rather play $15/$30 instead of $20/$40 for my first few sessions because of variance. The swings in this game can be rather large. If I call a preflop raise ($30), and then call all three streets ($15, $30, $30), that's $105. For $20/$40, it's $140. It only takes a couple of bad hands to take a chuck out of my chip stack. In this session, I bought in for $600, and my stack fluctuated from a low of around $325 to a high of almost $1100.

One problem that I've had with bigger games, like $2/$5 NL, is that I actually care about the money. I haven't developed that disregard for the money that a player needs to play in bigger games. Hopefully, that will start by playing in the "Big Game".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Peppermill's $180 NLHE Tournament

The Peppermill is running a tournament series, and I played in the $180 NLHE tournament at Noon on Sunday. Hopefully, my recent tournament success would carry over into this event.

This tournament had 69 players. We started with 12k stacks, 30 minute levels, and a decent structure for a casino tournament.

I started doing a Running Log for this event. Unfortunately, my iPhone was only about 30% charged when this started. Since my screen is ON for long periods of time while I'm playing hands in between taking notes, it uses up a lot of battery power. I decided to save the juice, and stopped the Running Log.

As things turned out, it would have been a great Running Log, since I finished in 4th place for $800 after the Dealer's Tip. I probably would have done it two parts. The first one would have ended when we got to the Final Table.

The first part of the tourney was fairly standard. I caught a few hands. I pulled of a few bluffs. I had a couple stretches of being card dead. I even had a donk-off when I made a 3-Bet out of the SB with A9h. The original raiser didn't have enough chips to fold any decent hand, let alone his AK.

When we got to the Final Two Tables, they did a complete redraw for seats. I had an average stack, and got a good seat draw with no monster stacks or action junkies at my table. I then went on sweet run of cards, including getting AK three times in one orbit. I knocked out two players, but lost a race against a shortstack who had 55.

We got to the Final Table in the 2k/4k/500 Level. I had around 115k, which was 2nd in chips. The Chip Leader had me by 100k. He's a "Pro" who won the Friday $120 tournament, and said he won a WSOP bracelet in a 2004 $1500 event. He was at my first table. We were there for a while, so I have a good feel for how he plays. He's on the Loose side, but he knows what he's doing. Fortunately, I had great position on him at the Final Table. He's was in Seat 3, and I was in Seat 5.

The Final Table went slowly, as some players were trying to hold on as long as they could. Eventually, we got down to four players in 7k/15k/2k Level. I had about 140k, and was the shortstack. But the Big Stack was only around 250k. Since we were all relatively close in chips, between 9 - 15 Big Blinds, the Chop Talk started.

The TD stopped the clock and did the math. A 4-way chop would be just over $1800 per player. Personally, I was happy to chop or to play it out. It really didn't matter to me. Everyone kinda wanted to chop, but there was a problem. Since the Peppermill is running a Tournament Series, they have a glass trophy for each event. The "Pro" was one of the Big Stacks, and wanted the trophy to go with his other one. I kinda wanted it too, but I had no say in this since I was the shortstack. After some talk between the other players, the deal fell through, and we started to play.

The very next hand, the first player limped for 15k. He's a bit of a Nit, and has been doing a lot of limping with hands that he should be raising (AT and KJ, for example). The Button also limped. He's a solid, no-nonsense, A-B-C player. The "Pro" folded his SB. I'm the BB with 76s. I grab my stack of green 5k chips, and raise to 85k. The Nit thought for a bit, counted out some chips, thought some more, and reluctantly folded. The A-B-C player folded. The Dealer started pushing me the pot, and I showed my 7-high. Why did I do it? Because I wanted to show them that even as the shortstack, I'm not folding my way to 3rd place. Plus, I picked up an extra 30k along with the Blinds & Antes, which is rather large at this stage of the tournament.

One orbit later, I raised to my standard 40k on the Button with AJo. The Nit folded his SB, but the BB said All-In. I know he's not making a move in this spot. I did a quick count of my chips, and decided I was willing to Coin Flip in this spot. I said Call, and he showed TT. Overall, a fairly standard hand at this stage of the tournament. Unfortunately, the other standard thing about this hand was me missing my Pair Draw. We count down the stacks. He has 194k, and I have 193k.

About 10 minutes later, the Nit got knocked out by the "Pro". The two remaining players were about even in chips. They decided to chop for around $2700 each, and the "Pro" got the trophy.

Ultimately, the non-chop cost me $1000. Am I upset about this?

Not really. As a tourney player, I wanted the trophy. It's not just about the Money, but it's also about the Wins. If all I cared about was the Money, then I would just play in Cash games.

But I'm also a practical person. I understand that in the late stages of tournaments, we are often just flipping coins for a decent chunk of money. So I normally don't encourage a chop, but I usually don't discourage one either.

I still made $620 in this tourney when I got knocked out a little before 10pm. So I still made over $60/hr, which is rather good for a small stakes player like me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I arrived at the Atlantis on Friday night around 7pm. I was hoping to play in a larger NL game, but it never started. So I just stayed at the $2/$3 NL for a few hours. After about 40 minutes, the following hand happened.

It folded around to me, and I limped in Mid Position with 4d 4c. I know this isn't the best play, but I haven't had many good hands, so I want to play something. The Hyjack raised to $12. The Cutoff called, and the Blinds folded. Naturally, I called. Flop was 5d 5h 4h. I gotta check my Full House, and so do the other two players. Turn [5d 5h 4h] 4s. I gotta check my Quads, and so do the others. River [5d 5h 4h 4s] 3s. I can't check my Quads, so I bet $25, and they can't fold fast enough. I show my Quads to collect the $50 Bonus. There is also an Hourly High Hand Bonus for $50. But about five minutes after this hand, someone at a $3/$6 table hit a 9-high Straight Flush.

About 20 minutes later at 8pm, there was a Straddle pot to $6. It folded around to me in the SB, and I just called with 9h 9d. The BB folded the $3, and the Straddle checked. The Flop was 9s 9c 8c. I checked my Quads. The Straddle bet $5, and I called. Turn [9s 9c 8c] 6s. I checked my Quads, and he bet $35. With a bet that large, I think he has a hand. He's got around $125 behind, so I grab a stack of Red chips, and check-raise to $100. He quickly shoves his stack in. I say call, and show my Quads. He gets that "Deer In The Headlights" look on face, and shows T7o for a Straight. Nasty. I collect the $50 Bonus for Quads. But the Hourly High Hand ended at 8pm, so I missed out on that one.

The money for the various Bonuses comes for the $1 Promo drop that most Poker Rooms have. Back in the East, most of the rooms use that money for their Bad Beat Jackpots (BBJ), and nothing else. In Detroit, each of the rooms had a BBJ that sometimes reached over $100k. But as a player, I hate the BBJ because it's essentially a lottery, or a 1-in-a-million chance to win a piece of the $100k BBJ. The closest I've ever come to being at a table that hit a BBJ was someone flopping a Straight Flush, and someone else hitting Runner Runner Quads. But it was three on the Board, and one in the Hand (like Tc 9c 6c 6h 6s), so it wouldn't qualify for most BBJs.

In Reno, some rooms have a BBJ, but they're smaller like the Peppermill that is capped at $10k. All of the rooms use their $1 Promo Drop for High Hands Bonuses, usually with Quads or Better and sometimes an Hourly High Hand Bonus. So far, I've won $500 with various Quads, and $150 in the Hourly High Hand Bonus. No Straight Flush or Royals yet. I know that I haven't paid $650 in the Promo Drop, so this is a much better way to get that money back rather than trying to hit the lottery in the BBJ.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hand Of The Day #63

01.06.11 - Atlantis $55 Tournament - Level 1 (25/50)

This is the 4th or 5th hand, and we started with 10k stacks. There are a bunch of limpers, including me on the Button with J3d. The BB, an old man who's already asked "What's the minimum bet?", raised to 150. Everyone called.

Five or six players see a Flop of Kd 8d 4c. The BB bet 100. The other players fold around to me. As I've mentioned before, when a player bets less on the Flop than they did preflop, that usually means WEAK. That doesn't mean he's bluffing with 72o, but he's probably got something like JJ and hates the K on the Flop. Since I have a Flush Draw just in case I'm wrong, I raise to 600. He thinks for a bit, and calls.

Turn [Kd 8d 4c] 2s - He checks. I toss out a 1k chip. He thinks for a while, and reluctantly folds.

Just to show my point about this Bet Sizing Tell, the very next orbit I folded on the Button, and the BB raised to 100. Naturally, everyone called. The Flop was As Jc 3s. He bet 500, and everyone folded.

When players are playing their hands this face up, it's not difficult to see why I'm cashing in half of these tournaments.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Is A Good Time For A Heater

On Thursday night, I played in the Atlantis 6:30 $55 tournament with 19 players. I did a Heads-Up chop for $275 after the Dealer's tip. Also, today I played in the Harrah's 11am $35 tournament with 9 players. I did a Heads-Up chop for $110 after the Dealer's tip.

I say this rather nonchalantly because it really not a big deal. Not because it's only $295 profit between both tourneys, but because this is becoming rather common.

Since I've started playing in these daily tournaments, I played in 13 tournament, and I've cashed in seven of them. That includes four Heads-Up chops, a 3-way chop, a 2nd place, and a 6th place.

Most of the buy-ins and profits has been similar to those above. I have played in two $100+ tournaments, and cashed in both. One was on Christmas Eve, and the other was on New Year's Day. It was a 6:30pm $115 at the Peppermill with 34 players. I did a Heads-Up chop for $1000 after the Dealer Tip.

So am I just that much better than everyone else in these tourneys, or am I just on a Hot Streak? Well, the correct answer is "Yes".

Not only do these players not "Shift Gears" during the tournament, they don't even know what "Gears" are. The "Loose Cash Game Kids" never tighten up when the stacks get short. They still limp UTG with Suited Connectors when the Average Stack is just 10BB. Then they feel that they have to call the raise of the Super Nit who has only 5BB left in his stack.

Super Nits may be really annoying in the Cash games, but they are awesome to play with in these tourney, especially in the Mid and Late stages. They try to "Fold To The Money", and play their hands essentially face up. The only problem is that occasionally they will just call with Queens and hit a Set, or play their Top Pair (KJ) so tentatively that I think they don't have it.

But even when I make a mistake (and I have made a few), I've usually been able to recover from it. My Luck Factor is definitely on the Plus side right now, but I'm not getting hit in the face with the Deck. I'm either getting big hands at the right time or the players just decide to gift wrap their entire stack over to me in a spot they have no business doing it.

Here's an example of how I'm running right now. At the Atlantis tournament on Thursday, we were down to four players. Player 1, a shortstack, goes All-In. Player 2, the Chip Leader, folds. Player 3, also a shortstack, goes All-In in the SB. I'm the BB, and look down at 77. Since I'm 2nd in chips, this is an easy call. Player 1 has A9, and Player 2 has AQ. Sweet! The Door Card of the Flop is an Ace, but right behind it is a 7. I knock out both players. I'm now about even with the Chip Leader, so we chop.

I'm not getting a big ego over this run. I know how tournaments go, and I'm sure that I will soon go a month without cashing. I've been on both sides of it before, so I'm just gonna ride this pony 'til it drops.

The Peppermill is having a tournament series starting next weekend, and will have $170 NLHE tournaments on the next two Sundays. Hopefully, this good run will continue, and can actually make some real money in one of the tourneys.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rants & Raves: Checking It Down

On Sunday night, I was in a tournament at the Peppermill with 20 players. In the middle of the tournament with around 14 players left, one of the players donked off most of his stack leaving himself with just 325 in the 200/400 level.

Very next hand, two players limped in before the Shortstack went All-In for less then the Big Blind. A total of five players saw the Flop of 8 4 4, including me in the BB. I checked. A Kid (UTG+1) bet 1500, and everyone folded, including me. The Kid turned over A9o. The Shortstack showed K8o. The Kid missed his Pair Draw, and won the small Side Pot, while the Shortstack now has some chips.

Right after the hand was over, one of the Super Nits at the table started to inform the Kid that what the Kid did was not proper. He told the Kid that the proper thing to do was to just check it down in order to eliminate a player. After all, the Super Nit had AJ, and would have hit his J on the River. He kept going on and on about this. Not in an angry, yelling way. It was more like he was giving the Kid some fatherly advice. After all, he was old enough to be the Kid's father.

Normally, I try not to talk Poker at the table. I don't want to advertise that I actually have a clue what I'm talking about, and I'd rather not tip off anyone who might be paying attention. But in this case, I had to defend the Kid. Not because I would have bet on the Flop with just A-high, but I just couldn't take the Super Nit preaching anymore.

I said, "That is just a myth. Sometimes it's proper, but it depends on the situation. At this stage of the tournament, it's more important to accumulate chips than to knock out a player." The Super Nit didn't say anything to me, and the conversation ended.

I would like to thank Mike & Vince from the WPT for this myth. They are the ones who started this "Checking It Down To Eliminate A Player" thing. And at a Final Table with four players left, it's a good idea to check it down and get to three players. But earlier in the tournament, it doesn't matter how many players are left, whether it's this tournament with 13 or 14 players remaining, or something like the Main Event with 2377 or 2378 players remaining.

The early stages of the tournament are all about accumulating chips. Certainly eliminating a player is a good way to build up a chip stack, but that's not the priority unless you're in a Bounty tourney.

I certainly wouldn't have bet with just A-high on a 8 4 4 Flop. However, I was in the BB, and I had 77. I considered doing a squeeze preflop to isolate with the All-In, because there was so much dead money in the middle. But I chickened out. The Shortstack still would have been alive, but that doesn't make the squeeze a wrong play. It just means that the Super-Nit would have given me the sermon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's News & Notes

- I went to Atlantis for New Year's Eve. They're trying to start a $3/$5 NL game on Fridays, but it didn't get started this week. So I played a little $2/$3 NL, but I kinda "hit the wall". I had a rough few days at work, and got really tired. I was home by 9pm, and asleep by 10pm.

One interesting thing from last night. The cocktail waitresses took away all glasses and bottles, and served everything in plastic cups. I guess the Free Booze on New Year's Eve is different than the Free Booze the rest of the year.

- I've played in two more daily tournaments this week at the Peppermill. One on Sunday afternoon and one on Wednesday night. The Sunday tourney was $65 (including rebuys & add-ons), and had 64 runners. I ended up cashing in 6th place. The payouts were retarded. For whatever reason, they paid out 10 spots. 10th got $70, 6th was $165, and 1st was $1050. The Final Table was all Push-N-Pray, so I'm sure they chopped with 3-4 players left.

On Wednesday night, it was a $95 with 53 runners. This was a "Cash Me Out" tournament. It has to do with the Final Table converting the tournaments chips to cash chips, and playing it out with the short stack being able to "Cash Out" at various points. I'm not sure on the specific details, as I didn't make it to the Final Table. I was completely card dead for this tournament. So mixing card dead with 15 minute levels meant that I had no chance. I basically folded my way to 23rd place.

- The 7-Card Bingo Experience is going ok. Between $3/$6 and $4/$8, I've played for 27 hours, and I'm up $42. Yeah, I'm not exactly tearing it up winning under $2/hr. As I said before, I'm doing this to get better at Limit Hold'em, so I can make money later in bigger games. Hopefully I will take my first shot at the $15/$30 game in February.

- My only Road Trip this year will be in June. I will leave my home on Sunday, June 12, and make the roughly seven hour drive down to Las Vegas. I'll be staying down there for a week, and drive back home on Sunday, June 19. While down there, I'll be doing all the usual things like cash game, tournaments, and satellites at the WSOP. I doubt that I will play in a WSOP event, but you never know.